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We’re nine days into this new year now so really I have to stop with the ‘it’s Christmas’ excuse of not exercising and eating badly.

This morning I went for my first run in 2017, I really didn’t want to go, but a few hundred meters down the road I was already feeling the January fug leaving me. If truth be told, yesterday was spent in a bit of a grump. I don’t know why, I had nothing to be grumpy about, but when my step tracker told me I did a grand total of 999 steps throughout the entire day – I began to have an inkling as to what it might be. Cabin fever.

I am definitely beginning to see the link between my mind’s own state and the amount of exercise I do. My goal (like many others) is to walk at least 10,000 steps each day, and boy does my mood know about it if I miss it too many times.

I usually hit this on my working days as I have a walk from home to the train station, from the station to work, I then go for a walk at lunch, and then reversed for the way home. Sometimes if my lunch time walk isn’t far enough then I may not hit my step count for the day, but that’s rare. At home, it’s so much more difficult to hit my step count each day. I’d done around 4,000 steps after my run this morning, and even now I’ve only done 6514 steps so far today (and that’s including going food shopping!), so I don’t think I’ll hit it somehow. But tomorrow I’ll be able to, I’m sure.

Tomorrow will also be the first day of my kick-start of the 5:2 diet again.

I started this….a couple of months ago maybe…I can’t remember when exactly, but I was tending to have the same meals each day on a 2 day, which did get a little boring pretty quickly. Although easy to cater for, I would find myself ‘cheating’ some days as I couldn’t find the enthusiasm for what I had.

Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so I’ll be adding in a few more recipes for my 2 days aimed at keeping me enthused. In case you wanted any help with recipe ideas for your own 5:2 diet, I’ve added them, old and new, below.

 

Rocket Soup – 6 servings

Sounds abysmal I know, but this is actually, genuinely, really nice (and is the main picture of this piece). And at roughly 88 calories a portion, it leaves a lot of calories to play with for an evening meal. And where you produce enough for 6 servings, you can batch it and get it out the night before for the next day’s lunch.

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion chopped or rough same equivalent in spring onion (fewer calories in spring onion) also chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or feel free to chop a fresh chilli up)

1tsp cornflour (mix in a little cold water to form a paste)

6 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of low-fat evaporated milk

145g rocket

1/4 cup of mixed fresh herbs (any you like)

 

Directions:

  • Fry the onion and garlic with a splash of olive oil over a medium heat until the onion begins to soften
  • Add in the chilli flakes and fry for a further minute
  • Add chicken stock, cornflour and evaporated milk, and bring to a simmer
  • Add the rocket and fresh herbs, stirring these into the mixture until wilted
  • Using a hand blender, blend until the mixture is smooth
  • Serve into 6 bowls or containers for freezing.

 

Spicy beans with cauliflower rice – 2 servings

This is just like a chilli really, but without the meat (do you know how may calories are in meat? It’s just not a viable option for a strict 500 calories daily allowance!), and although super tasty, this is one of the meals that I had a lot before my Christmas break, so did get a little tiresome. But when had in moderation, I’m sure it will become a firm favourite once again. And at roughly 185 calories for the whole lot, it’s one to think about.

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 medium chopped onion (again spring onion will save you calories)

1 chopped garlic clove

1 chopped bell pepper

1 tin of mixed beans in spicy tomato sauce

1 tbsp tomato puree

1⁄4 tsp chilli flakes

1 small head of cauliflower grated – eaten raw or microwaved for 2 minutes

  • Grate the cauliflower and put it to one side
  • Meanwhile, add the oil to a pan and brown the onion and garlic over a medium heat
  • Stir in the peppers and cook for two to three minutes
  • Add in the spicy beans, tomato puree and chilli flakes, and cook for a further two to three minutes
  • The cauliflower can either be served raw or if you’d rather it were cooked, then place the grated cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cook on high for two minutes before serving
  • Once the cauliflower is ready, serve it into two bowls placing the spicy bean mixture on top.

 

Pitta pizzas – 2 servings

This is a quick and easy one for those days when you just can’t be bothered and you have a craving for pizza. Put down the phone – I see you eyeing up the Domino’s website – and go turn the grill on instead. At around 246 calories per pitta, this can at least satisfy the pizza demon without having the guilt of it afterwards.

Ingredients:

2 pitta breads sliced open (or you could use 2 wraps I guess, why not!)

4 tsp tomato puree

125g low-fat mozzarella, sliced

 

Directions:

  • Turn the grill on to the highest temperature
  • While the grill is heating, cut open the pittas
  • Spread 1 tsp of tomato puree onto each open pitta side
  • Lay the mozzarella slices on top of the puree
  • Place pitta pizzas under the grill and leave until mozzarella has melted and pitta edges begin to brown
  • Serve on two plates

 

Spicy Couscous – 2 servings

This is a new one, not yet tried but I have high hopes as this will be tomorrow night’s dinner fo’ sure. The ingredients are sat waiting ready. Do you sense a theme with these recipes? The chilli flakes can be omitted but chilli is so good for you, why would you not want to add it into everything? Anyway, this one comes in at around 366 calories for both servings, not bad.

Ingredients:

160g couscous

200ml chicken stock

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped spring onion

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tin of chopped tomatoes ( FYI – Tesco everyday value chopped toms are surprisingly better on sugar than the rest of the ranges)

 

Directions:

  • Make up chicken stock and add to couscous in a saucepan, heat gently and place lid on, stirring regularly
  • Fry pepper on a medium heat for two to three minutes
  • Add spring onion and chilli flakes to the frying pepper and cook for two minutes
  • Add the tinned tomatoes to the frying pan and simmer for five minutes
  • Couscous should have soaked up all the stock by this time, leave for a little longer if not
  • Next you can either mix two pan mixtures together or serve up into a bowl separately

 

Sticky tofu – 2 servings

This is another one that I haven’t yet tried but I am super excited to. A 2 day dinner that sounds like it should be a 5 day dinner? Count me in! The calories for this one come in at around 280 for the two servings, how great is that!

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chunky chopped carrots

1 cup of chunky cut beetroot

Sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 inch piece of chopped ginger

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

1 1/2 tsp maple syrup (or 2 tsp of brown sugar)

349g tofu (this is how much is in my packet), sliced

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven 200C/ 392F/ 6 gas mark
  • Chop the carrots and beetroots and place into a roasting tray with a little extra virgin olive oil, roast for 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile in a pan over a medium heat add the sesame oil, chopped garlic and ginger and cook for two to three minutes
  • Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, fish sauce and maple syrup (or brown sugar). Bring to a simmer and leave until reduced by about 50%
  • In another pan, heat a little more oil and add the sliced tofu. Brown on both sides, this should take roughly three minutes per side
  • Add tofu to the sauce pan and simmer until the mixture has reduced further into a syrup consistency for around four to five minutes
  • Serve the roasted carrots and beetroots onto two plates and divide the (now) sticky tofu mixture on top.

 

And there you have my recipes to keep the 5:2 diet a bit more interesting and varied, let me know if you do decide to try any of them and what you think. Right, I’m off to make some rocket soup ready for my 2 day lunches.

Until next time. x

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